Public Speaking Skills:
An anachronism is a person, place, or event that is placed in a time
period in which it does not belong. For instance, Paul Revere riding
a motorcycle or George Washington sitting in front of a computer would
be anachronisms, though here at the Virginia Beach home of the Advanced
Public Speaking Institute, an hour's ride from Williamsburg, we have
a picture of "George Washington" at my desk... and computer. And yes,
Paul is welcome, too. Even the golden tongued orator Virginia boy
Patrick Henry would likely come to learn the newest techniques in having
great public speaking skills.
If you want to have good use of your public speaking skills anachronisms
are very effective tools.
We see advertising strategies using anachronisms all the time, especially
around Washington's Birthday federal holiday, Columbus Day, and even
Lincoln's birthday. To promote the Sacagawea golden dollar coin, full
page ads of George Washington in a modern tuxedo at a cocktail party
surrounded by young women whose skin color suggests they might be American
Indian were seen often in newspapers.
So you had the old man and the George Washington dollar bill, and the
young Indian woman with the new Sacaqawea dollar coin.
The relationship between new and old is always an interesting concept.
Anytime you can highlight this type of relationship in one of you public
speaking engagements you will evoke mild humor and create more attention
on your product, service, or point.
I saw an ad for fluorescent light bulbs that had Thomas Edison working
on a phonograph. The caption read: "If Thomas Edison wouldn't have wasted
his time on this (incandescent bulb), his phonograph might have been
a CD player."
Here is a good fill-in-the-blank format. Would (big name from the past)
have________________ if he had ________________? All you have to do
is make a simple relationship and your message will be funny and memorable.
"Would George Washington have thrown his money across the Potomac if
he had ABC investment company on his side?"
Once you get the relationship down and added to your public speaking
skills, you can adjust the form to suit your presentation. The "Man
on the Money" George Washington/ABC investment anachronism could turn
into a good, usable one-liner, to add some spice to your public speaking
"George Washington wouldn't have thrown his money across the Potomac
if he had come to us for advice."
By the way, some physics professors say there is no way George Washington
could have thrown a dollar coin across the river, but any economics
professor could tell you, "A dollar went a LOT further back then."
Remember when your looking to add a little humor to your public speaking
skills, anachronisms are the perfect choice.
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